Thursday, October 14, 2010

School Days

One of my favorite books to read is the Oxford English Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes edited by Peter and Iona Opie.  I realize that it sounds weird, but go and check out this book.  It is fascinating.  Each rhyme is researched.  The Opies found no connection between Ring Around the Rosie and the bubonic plague.  Rain Rain Go Away is traced back to ancient times.  If I had to pick a job, I would love to have had theirs.  They basically researched and studied the child to child transfer of rhymes and games and well as the sociology of the playground.  Have you ever watched kids play or make up games?  Their rules and standards of behavior are incredibly complex.  If you ever have a chance to read The People in the Playground, that is another fascinating read. 

I was an elementary music teacher for six years.  I always thought I would end up a band director, but in my junior year I was connected with the Kodaly (pronounced co-dye) approach to teaching and my world opened up.  The approach included researching folk music, which meant researching actual field recordings and the history of a song.  I loved it.  I spent hours in the library.  It was heaven.  Eventually, the stress of teaching in inner city schools and dealing with constant funding shortages made me reconsider my career choice.  When you teach small children all day an office job can look pretty appealing, even if you don't get the summers off.  So, I left.  Almost randomly I chose HR as my new career, enrolled in graduate school for an HR degree to help my career and I was off.  When I started having kids, I knew that going back to teaching music would be financially risky, so I did the grown up thing and stuck with Human Resources.

Five years later, after taking one or two classes at a time and the equivalent of two years off to have kids, I am looking at my last year of school.  I was not meant for business school and trying to do it while working full time and raising two small children has almost put me over the edge.  I fantasize about quitting or getting a letter from the dean saying that there's been a mistake with my credits and I get to graduate next semester. Oh, the joy!!  None of that is happening.  In fact, this semester has been......I can't think of the right word.....torture.  My working group for class has been a nightmare which culminated last night with one member dropping the course two hours before our project was due without turning in his work. 

I think my anger comes from a resentment of my own choice.  I look up at my bookshelf and see my Lomax collections and that is what I want to study, not benefits and compensation.  Don't get me wrong, there is a lot about HR that I like, but the satisfaction that I felt when I was teaching just isn't there.  Life is basically on hold until I finish this degree and then I can go back to reading things that I like to read.  I can finally put together baby books for my kids, learn to sew, and start working out again.  I can have my life back.

I'll tell you one thing - as soon as I graduate I am throwing one hell of a party and you are all invited. 


  1. Im sorry its been a tough journey--and I dont mean to be all sunshiney--but I am proud of all that you have on your plate and you are doing a great job--truly! Cant wait to come to that party ;)

  2. I'm sorry things are crap right now. Hopefully you're at the worst of it right now and things will be smooth sailing after this class is over.

    Once upon a time I began my freshman year of college as a double major in Information Systems and Art. I really wanted to design webpages and figured this would be the ultimate combination of majors to make me marketable. Fast forward 18 months... I HATED art... I loved the graphic design side, but oh the drawing, and the painting, and the color theory - made me so stressed out. I'm not an artist of the traditional sort - I create with a computer. Finally one random afternoon I decided to drop that Art major to a minor and it was like the heavens opened and bluebirds started dumping sunshine and rainbows on me. Life was so much easier from that day forward - I chose to focus on my strengths instead of fighting something I hated.

    I'm not telling you to drop your degree, I'm just sympathizing with you because I know how sucky it is when your heart isn't in it. Hoping this time passes quickly and you can get back to reading nursery rhymes.

  3. I bring the chocolate and red wine to your party! Anyone that can go to school and handle to very young children--and hold a full time job--you are SUPER WOMAN! (even if you don't always feel like it!)

    I wish I could take back some of my "career" choices too...but sometimes life just doesn't lead us down that straight path--we take some side roads to eventually get there.

    BTW, I put that first book on my wishlist! :-)

  4. I want to say something here, but I am not sure what it is. Part of me wants to say, Well, just finish this thing up and then do what you want...follow the dream then. Another part of me thinks why spend another minute on something that you really don't like, that isn't your heart's desire. I did that for over a decade (days turned into weeks...turned into years...) and I regret it. I guess in the end I would just say, don't wait too long to follow what is really in your heart, what lights you up, what stirs your soul. I have and I am so happy that I did.

  5. oh holy god do I understand.
    I started out becoming a doctor. helping people is what I LOVE to do. But, alas, I am working on a degree that will let me push paper and help people, kinda.
    I get it. I totally do. Email me anytime you want to vent.